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Posts Tagged ‘English language

More than ever I relate to these thoughts from Ezra Pound’s poetry

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Montage of various Dalian images
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Here in Dalian, China  and easing into the month of November I have felt the harbinger blasts of cold wind. Not the real raw winter winds of December thru March yet but lotsa wind nonetheless so here goes with Pound’s thinking on winter gales!

Winter is icummen in,
Lhude sing Goddamm,
Raineth drop and staineth slop,
And how the wind doth ramm!
Sing: Goddamm.

Skiddeth bus and sloppeth us,
An ague hath my ham,
Freezeth river, turneth liver,
Damn you, sing: Goddamm.

Goddamm, Goddamm, ’tis why I am, Goddamm,
So ‘gainst the winter’s balm.

Sing goddamm, damm, sing Goddamm,
Sing goddamm, sing goddamm, DAMM.

And for a fitting end:

The apparition
of these faces
in the crowd:
on a wet, black

Happy Birthday, Mr. Pound.

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2010/10/30 at 11:00

One of the banes about my living in China

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Snowy mountains (probably 'white-horse mountai...
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is not being able to get books from the library. Like this book from New York Review of books:

In Tearing Haste: Letters between Deborah Devonshire and Patrick Leigh Fermor

Patrick Leigh Fermor and Deborah Devonshire, edited by Charlotte Mosley

I would love to read it! But there’s another thing I can’t ignore. I’m in China to accomplish something and that leaves me little time to read anyway!

Pebbles laid by Leigh Fermor, et al., c. 1970,...
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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2010/10/28 at 12:41

The word Globish is very high on the Google Search scale

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Since Robert McCrum’s recent book about the English language phenomenon the world over is being reviewed in many parts of the world where English is used for everyday discourse, as for example in Malaysia, India, and hopefully in certain parts of China like Shanghai, a Google search this morning 2010/5/24 listed more than one hundred relevant citations which is something of a record for us.

Here are some of those links!

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2010/05/23 at 18:42

I am extending and broadening my understanding of Globish concepts

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I first posted here about Globish in 2006. The sense of that post was my unsureness about the validity of decaffeinated English. I posted again in 2008 with a more positive tone. Today I have engaged a dialogue with the principals of the Globish organization, whoever that is beyond JP Nerriere.

My sense about the utility and viability of Globish is clearer today than in 2006. Looking at the number of non- native English speakers across the world and specially in Asia, I can see why Globish is a natural language for this very large population of business people and tourists who don’t care about the culture of OED and Shakespeare.

JP Nerriere now suggests that Globish can be successfully taught by non-native English speakers to their own kind. This notion offers a more economical solution for the advancement of Global English which seems to be the preference of most non-native English speakers. Apparently there are as many as a billion of them globally. It seems doubtful to me that the rag-tag lot of native English speakers, posing as English teachers that I have met in China, can ever deal with that gigantic population using traditional English teaching.

My own experience, which I admit is not global, with the issue of “enough English” is that more than one Chinese student of English are seeking enough English to pass a proficiency test to get admission to university in the West or to get a job in Asia.

Asia: orthographic projection, based on :File:...
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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2010/04/27 at 18:24

Commodification, Dan Brown and publishing!

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I read this morning that Dan Brown‘s gawdawful book “Da Vinci Code” has sold some 81 million copies in this global market for English books. I have read small snippits of it and dumped it unceremoniously because of its mawkish and trite style of writing. I have a notion that Dan Brown’s anti-intellectual style was a precursor of Sara-cuda Palin and her adolescent-like discourse, breathless, giggly and meaningless!

In the of today an article suggests that publishers of Brown’s word junk have decided to capitalize on the expected marketing bonanza with Brown’s latest load of crap and fractured historical research to publish an e-book simultaneously with the print versions, or maybe only one publisher proposes that!

Given that – the whacked out liberties that Brown takes with history, religion, science et al – sells so well and widely, it is not surprising that lower middle class white trash in the US are acting out so abominably with encouragement from health care capitalists and the Republican down class. In some ways I see all this as just another version of a bubble, except this time it’s a bubble of anti-liberal negativism abetted by misinformation, twisting of facts into fantasy, taking crass advantage of the ignorant and sheep like masses! I trust you get the idea here.

Sorta goes with the times now, doesn’t it!

The thought that anything written by Dan Brown is going to “transform publishing” is a ghastly prospect. Never has such dreadful junk been suggested as transformational. Or, is it just another dive to the bottom that our commodified culture seems to love so much.

Another version of this is the almost sepulchral tones of sports broadcasters spewing out the latest trivial reactions to Tiger Woods play of golf, the “sport” that is most wasteful of raw land, water and TV air space! Another example of how our culture is drawn hypnotically to the middle and down!

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2009/08/16 at 08:12

The millionth word, or not!

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Countries of the world where English is an off...
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Here is a revealing excerpt from NY Times:

June 14, 2009
Ideas & Trends

Keeping It Real on Dictionary Row


On Wednesday, a Texas-based media consulting firm announced the birth of the millionth English word, which arrived on June 10, 2009, at 10:22 a.m., Stratford-on-Avon time.

The lucky lexeme? “Web 2.0,” which edged out “slumdog,” “octomom” and “N00b,” a disparaging term for video game newbies.

Language experts, when asked for comment, found themselves reaching for other words, some of them unprintable.

“It’s bushwa, fraud, hokum,” said Geoffrey Nunberg, a linguist at the School of Information at the University of California at Berkeley.

Grant Barrett, a lexicographer and co-founder of the online dictionary, said: “It’s a sham. It’s a hoax. It’s fake. It’s not real.”

Indeed, it’s hard to find scholars who react with anything less than blunt outrage at the headline-garnering “Million-Word March,” which was begun in 2003 by Paul JJ Payack, the president and chief word analyst of Global Language Monitor. They point to the frequently revised predictions of the fateful word’s arrival, perhaps to coincide with the publication of his book about the project. They question the validity of the algorithm used to pinpoint when a word crossed the threshold of 25,000 geographically scattered uses — something they say even Google could not come up with.

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2009/06/14 at 06:53

With the globalization effect, Globish, or English-lite is inevitable

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Map of nations using English as an official la...
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Here’s the headline and the link:

Parlez vous Globish? Probably, even if you don’t know it

A Frenchman’s quixotic attempt to build an empire based on the global dialect dubbed `English-lite’

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2009/04/13 at 02:51

My linguistic personas

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Mandarin (comics)
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As it turns out, I have two linguistic personae, English and French. And I’ve sort of been working on a third, Mandarin, not the easiest I am finding. But since I will be spending more time in Mandarin business and social environments in the New Year, I have little choice but to become more serious about my third linguistic persona.

Check out this link for more about such personae discussion!

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2008/12/18 at 05:09

About the way we capitalize I

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NY Times offers information in so many. Some of it is news, looks like news, but they publish a lot of interesting commentary for a wide range of tastes and cultural interests, like this think piece in today’s Magazine section:

Published: August 3, 2008

Why do we capitalize the word “I”? There’s no grammatical reason for doing so, and oddly enough, the majuscule “I” appears only in English.

Consider other languages: some, like Hebrew, Arabic and Devanagari-Hindi, have no capitalized letters, and others, like Japanese, make it possible to drop pronouns altogether. The supposedly snobbish French leave all personal pronouns in the unassuming lowercase, and Germans respectfully capitalize the formal form of “you” and even, occasionally, the informal form of “you,” but would never capitalize “I.” Yet in English, the solitary “I” towers above “he,” “she,” “it” and the royal “we.” Even a gathering that includes God might not be addressed with a capitalized “you.”

Caroline Winter, a 2008 Fulbright scholar, is a Brooklyn-based writer.

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2008/08/03 at 09:48